Dance party promises

Big Fun Festival returns

Kelly Castro

The Big Fun Festival is set to showcase over 40 of the best up-and-coming artists from Manitoba, as well as some hand-selected acts from across Canada. Running from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1 at venues around the city, the festival is sure to bring warmth to our cold winter nights.

Big Fun sprang from a love and passion for music. Stefan Braun, 26, co-artistic director of Big Fun Fest and the festival’s other co-creators were inspired by how they felt at smaller Manitoba festivals, like Rainbow Trout and Harvest Moon, that emphasized spotlighting local music talents.  

When deciding what kinds of music is featured in the festival, Braun says the lineup kind of reflects the submissions that are sent in. “There’s a huge folk scene in Winnipeg, along with garage and indie rock, so everything is shortlisted then gets put together into something more cohesive.”

But they also try not to cannibalize themselves either by booking similar styles of music close to the same time. That way, festival patrons aren’t left torn between two acts when they might want to see both.

While Big Fun aims to stagger shows that are distinct in sound and delivery, they also hope that the schedule leaves room for discovery.

“There’s always 15-20 new bands in Manitoba every single year so it’s always exciting to see something you haven’t seen on a poster or just to discover something new that you think is good,” Braun explains.

“The festival has gotten a lot bigger than we thought it would. And it’s helping to build the local music scene,” Braun says.

This year’s festival headliners are wildly diverse, from Saskatchewan singer/songwriter Andy Shauf to Toronto electro-indie-dance-rockers Operators to local heavy hitters KEN mode. 

“We had a few ideas. We never had a per se dance party night,” Braun says, noting that he remembers hearing some feedback last year from festival patrons wondering where they could go to just dance and have fun.

An Operators show is the perfect answer to this question. While still a relatively new act, ex-Wolf Parader Dan Boeckner’s synth-pop outfit has found early praise from Exclaim, the Toronto Star and Huffington Post. And if Boeckner’s past performances are any indication of what’s to come, this show could have the audience kicking off its
winter boots. 

Big Fun Festival passes and individual tickets are available at Into the Music, Music Trader and Visit for more information.

Published in Volume 69, Number 18 of The Uniter (January 28, 2015)

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